Is Red Wine Healthy For Your Gut?
Are you curling up with a glass of red wine at the end of a long day? Or maybe you're just enjoying a glass or two on the weekend? What if I told you that red wine has more benefits than just heart health alone, which we've heard of for many years.
Today I'm going dig into and tell you all about how red wine is good for your gut.
Hi, my name is Marcie Vaske and I'm a functional medicine nutritionist specializing in gut health. And so I see a lot of clients that struggle with gas, bloating, constipation, diarrhea, and that's really just to name a few.
So if this sounds like you or someone you love and know, you can make an initial appointment with us. Or if you're the kind of person who really likes to do things on their own or just get started on your own, you can download our free guide as well, which is Five Ways to Improve your Gut Health.
So let's dig into our fun topic today:
Is red wine good for your stomach?
Alright, so drinking red wine; it's calming, it's delicious, but it's more than just that. And while we kind of know that alcohol is not usually associated with the picture of health, drinking wine and especially that red wine has also been linked to a multitude of benefits.
Of course, like any other alcoholic beverage, wine has its downfalls when it comes to maintaining good health. And, some red wines have actually too much sugar in them and that creates inflammation in our bodies.
So while they're being processed, they're adding extra sugar and that extra sugar creates that inflammation, which then sets our guts up for the inability to digest the wine well or properly. Which worsens our digestive system.
This type of inflammation can lead to what we call leaky gut or even something called SIBO, which is small intestinal bacteria overgrowth.
So what's the trick? You want to find a wine that has no added sugars. There are a couple of brands out there and maybe more than just what I'll list here, but one good one id Dry Farm wine and there's also Fit Wine.
So you can enjoy your red wine, and get the benefits, but not get all that inflammation. So, let's do a little education on the gut first. Gut flora, or what we call the microbiome is a collection or group of microorganisms in our intestinal tract that plays a very big role in our health.
And an imbalance of good microbes or flora in comparison to bad flora can lead to these adverse health issues going on in our gut, which are things you might find as a reduced immune system. It can also cause things like weight gain or even high cholesterol.
So, a person's gut microbiome that has much more diversity in it is going to be a marker for good health. Why am I telling you all about the microbiome and our gut flora?
Well, what happened was that researchers found and observed our gut microbiota of red wine drinkers actually contained more diversity and variety of flora than the non-red wine drinkers. That's pretty fun, right?
Remember a marker of good gut health is having that diversity and variety of good flora. So what the researchers believe is that the main reason for this association between having better gut flora is because of the polyphenols in the red wine.
Now, polyphenols are a kind of this chemical defense mechanism. We can also call them antioxidants. And what they do is they actually feed the flora that's already in our system.
So what happens when you drink a glass of red wine is that small amounts of the red wine polyphenols will be absorbed in your small intestine and the remainder will reach your colon where most of that metabolism and activity go on.
From there they intertwine with the microbiota and produce what we call polyphenol conjugates. Which then enters our circulatory system.
One thing we want to make sure we take account for is that all of us have different flora in our gut, and that plays an important role in really that bioavailability of the polyphenols and how they'll actually act on your own gut flora.
So, if you are having poor gut health, you might not get all the benefits just because you don't have that type of flora or that diversity going on versus somebody with a better gut.
A study also found that red wine consumption can be associated with lower levels of obesity and also our bad cholesterol, which we usually think of as LDL. And this was all in part to the flora or our gut microbiota because our gut flora really determines so many different facets of our health.
And so if you drink the red wine, you have better gut flora, which means your risk factors for cholesterol and obesity actually can go down.
Now the study actually went on to say is that moderate red wine consumption can also reduce risk factors for cardiovascular disease, as I mentioned above cholesterol, and obesity.
It's all due to these phenolic compounds found in red wine, which have that antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. So reducing insulin resistance and decreasing oxidative stress on the body.
Both of these things contribute to cardiovascular health and according to a study they cited moderate alcohol consumption, even if you count on beer or spirits.
But really we're talking about that red wine. It has also been linked to increasing our HDL, there's also something called resveratrol found in red wine, which is also an antioxidant, and that's been shown to lower blood pressure.
So, drinking a little glass of red wine seems to sound like a good idea to me. You might be asking yourself, okay, I'm on board, I'm going to drink a glass of red wine, but how much can I have?
Well, I think you probably know what I'm going to say, but studies reveal that drinking red wine rarely, even two times a month, can give you this benefit of healthier gut flora and cardiovascular health.
But, you can enjoy one to two glasses per day, of course, paired with a healthy diet. Now, one thing to keep in mind is that when they do these, when they say one to two glasses, four ounces is considered a glass of wine.
Sometimes wine glasses are six ounces, maybe even nine ounces, so if you did one or two glasses a day, you're having four to eight ounces of red wine per day, which can lead to those great benefits as I've talked about.
But of course, I also want to point out that this needs to be paired with a healthy diet. A diet filled with whole real foods, and get out all the processed junk. Drinking wine in moderation is always going to be best.
So, if you want to choose an alcoholic beverage to drink today, grab that glass of red wine! It's going to increase your gut health, that gut microbiome, and increase heart health as well as lose some weight.
If you'd like to explore any of this information further or obtain an individualized nutrition plan, you can schedule an initial appointment at our clinic. We also take insurance and some of our clients get full coverage, which is great.
Or you can just start by downloading our FREE GUIDE: 5 WAYS TO IMPROVE GUT HEALTH